9 Feb 1969
Plei Djereng Flares Up
Firefights Badger NVA Troops
CAMP ENARI — Combat activity Increased measurably this week throughout the Famous 4th’s wide ranging area of operation as Ivymen were credited with 25 enemy kills.
Attention remained focused, however, on an area 28 kilometers north of Plei Djereng, where two companies of the 1st Battalion, 35th Infantry initiated and remained In contact with the enemy for most of the week.
On Jan. 18 Company D, penetrated a hastily evacuated enemy base camp in the thickly jungled area north of Plei Djereng. It was estimated that the camp quartered at least a platoon-sized unit. Twenty-five fortified sleeping positions and a hut were destroyed and 20 60mm mortar rounds were evacuated.
The following day Company A, exhumed one NVA body in the area, while nearby Company C, following a blood trail, discovered a large cave complex housing numerous documents, 31 field packs, 50 NVA uniforms, an undisclosed amount of machine gun ammo, two NVA pistols, over a ton of ‘ice and several photos.
On Jan. 21, Company D reported itself engaged in a heavy, day-long contact with an enemy of unknown size. NVA small arms and mortar fire was countered by US gunships and artillery throughout the day.
On Jan. 22, Company A linked with Company D In an effort to crush the enemy. Fighting continued through Jan. 23 as two companies expended a withering volume of fire against an apparently well-entrenched enemy force.
Two incidents were reported approximately 25 kilometers northwest of Kontum on Jan. 18. In the early morning hours, Company C, 1st Battalion, 8th Infantry’s perimeter was probed by a VC force of undermined size. Two platoons reacted immediately, killing one VC on the wire and destroying one B40 rocket launcher.
Later that morning Company B, conducting a sweep in the same general area, discovered an enemy medical aid station. The sweep yielded a find of six large huts, each structured with a large, winding tunnel complex beneath, assorted medical supplies including needles and bandage, and an NVA gas mask.
One hundred meters to the west, spider holes for a company-sized unit were also found, and destroyed.
During the afternoon of Jan. 19, about 15 kilometers north of Plei Djereng, elements of the 1st Battalion, 12th Infantry, unearthed graves containing bodies of five NVA soldiers. Nearby, Company C found a quantity of NVA propaganda leaflets.
Seven kilometers northeast of Pleiku, guards at the 62nd Motor Transport complex spotted two enemy soldiers moving through the perimeter wire on the night of Jan. 19. Employing jeep headlights for illumination, the guards killed the intruders.
On Jan. 23, 35 kilometers east of Camp Enari, elements of the 2nd Battalion (Mechanized), 8th Infantry discovered two caves, one 30’ x 50’ and the o t h e r 29’ x 30’.
A more extensive search revealed another natural cave 50’ x 60’ x 30’ containing five large huts capable of sleeping two companies of troops. It was estimated that the cave had been used about four hours prior to its detection.
Famous 4th Division LRPs also remained active throughout the week, playing havoc with small enemy units.
On Jan. 20, 23 kilometers northeast of Kontum, a LRP employed a Claymore mine to kill one of the two enemy soldiers spotted. A pack containing two grenades and documents, along with an SKS were captured. The following day the patrol made contact with 14 Viet Montagnard Cong (VMC). Small arms fire was exchanged, and when contact was finally broken, the LRPs counted four dead VMC.
On Jan. 23, north of Kontum, five enemy soldiers fell victims to another alert LRP patrol which engaged them with a heavy volume of small arms fire and grenades.